With no football to play amongst England’s professional football clubs, Stoke City and a host of other football clubs are ensuring that the show will go on – by playing football.
With professional football in England suspended until April 4th – at the very least – due to the coronavirus outbreak, League Two’s Leyton Orient have laid down the gauntlet and challenged football teams to sign up to a large-scale FIFA 20 tournament.
Orient didn’t struggle to attract teams, with Stoke, Aston Villa, Derby County, Coventry City signing up amongst others.
The O’s are now preparing to host a 128-team knockout tournament with teams, calling the competition the #UltimateQuaranTeam
The idea came from within Orient’s media team. Dan Walker and Luke Lambourne originated the idea and floated it to other teams via Twitter, enjoying a positive reaction after a deluge of emoji games – Connect Four and Noughts and Crosses – threatened to take over twitter.
“Having watched Connect Four take off on social media with the likes of Hull City and Beyer Leverkusen, we wondered how could we improve the idea on a bigger scale,” explained Walker.
“FIFA is a worldwide phenomenon and provides an opportunity for football clubs from around the world to engage world wide, whilst still following safety guidance.”
Orient will host a live draw tomorrow to decide the first round of the tournament – a round that will thin the field to 64 teams.
As for the teams? They will be represented by a single game-player from the fanbase – with some teams electing to put forward a first-team player.
Teams who have agreed to sign up vary wildly – from Premier League sides to League Two strugglers to Champions League competitors.
Here’s a list of the interested sides.
Salford City, Tranmere Rovers, Grimsby Town, Northampton Town, Peterborough United, Oldham Athletic, Blackpool, Bristol City, Leyton Orient, Brentford, Ipswich Town, Newport County AFC, Preston North End, Bolton Wanderers, Exeter, Scunthorpe United, Shrewsbury Town, Accrington Stanley, QPR, Walsall, Fleetwood, FC Midtyland, Crewe, Rochdale, Swindon, Lincoln, Coventry, Southend, Cheltenham, Sunderland, Crawley, Carlisle, Colchester, Blackburn, Waalwijk, Plymouth, Wigan, Finn harps, Luton, Cork City, Portsmouth, Huddersfield, Sheffield Wednesday, Emmen, Derby, Morecambe, Wycombe, Burton, Hamilton Accies, Melbourne, Central Coast Mariners, Barnsley, Forest Green, Port Vale, Sheff Wed, Ross County, Adelaide, Sydney FC, Kortrijk, Reading, Oxford, Manchester City, Birmingham, AZ Alkmaar, Brighton, Millwall, Bristol Rovers, Stevenage, Middlesborough, Amiens, Cambridge, Gillingham, Djargardens, Burnley, Feyernoord, West Bromich Albion, Angers, FC Utrecht, Gent, MK Dons, Crystal Palace, Dundalk FC, Waterford, Almelo, Haag, Doncaster, Nordsjaeland, Fortuna, Macclesfield, Wolves, Rotherham, HSV, Leeds United, Everton, Ajax, Watford, Sheffield United,Aston Villa Villa, Willem II, VVV Venlo, West Ham, Norwich, FC Sion, Standard de Liege, PAOK, Lorient.